Steelers Still Searching For Answers After London
By Philip Botti
The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers started 0-4 was in 1968.
In that season the team the finished 2-11-1. With the way the team looks this year, they may match that win total. The team met the Minnesota Vikings in London on Sunday afternoon and fell 34-27. The score indicates it was a close game, but the Steelers trailed from the opening drive. QB Ben Roethlisberger –with the help of Antonio Brown – led a drive to the red zone in the waning minutes which was ended with a sack and forced fumble. The loss can’t be blamed on the final turnover.
“The last one they got some pressure and, once again, I’m thinking just try do whatever you can to get rid of the ball,” a visibly-disappointed Roethlisberger commented on the last play after the game.
The Steelers played woeful on offense and defense. The hard-nosed defense that fans became accustomed to over the years is not there, plain and simple. For the second straight game, the defense couldn’t force a turnover and only notched one sack. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed for over 140 yards and two touchdowns against a defense that is usually one of the best against the run. Backup QB Matt Cassel threw for a relaxing 248 yards and two touchdowns in his first game of the season.
Big Ben and the offense looked productive on paper, but they struggle to respond to the points that opposing teams are putting on the board. They finally got a boost in the running game with rookie RB Le’Veon Bell, who scored the team’s first and second rushing touchdowns of the season.
The game wasn’t out of the Steelers’ reach and they fought back hard to get into a position to bring the game into overtime. They fell short and it would be hard to say that the big plays the defense let up didn’t affect the team. Cassel and WR Greg Jennings connected for a 70-yard play. Peterson continued his successful seaso, breaking a 60-yard touchdown run for the Vikings in the second quarter.
“We’re not going to make any excuses; we are going to chew everything we got coming, obviously. But more important than that, we are going to focus on getting better; that’s what’s going to change the outcome of these football games,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin strongly stated after the game. “Those that don’t, (they) aren’t going to be part of us.”
The Steelers face a huge challenge; they have to break through soon if they want to turn the season around. They look to fix the details and problems on both sides of the ball in the bye week.